Tuesday, December 21, 2010

FCC Adopts Net Neutrality, Neuters Internet Freedom

December 21, 2010 - 4:00 PM EST - Net Neutrality was adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this afternoon. It could mean the end of the Internet that we have all come to enjoy, use and rely on for personal use and critical business needs. The decision is tainted by corporate greed and influence. Supported by Barack Obama, it is yet another example of his broken campaign promises. Jason Rosenbaum wrote this long headline, "FCC breaks Obama's promise, allows corporate censorship online with fake Net Neutrality," at Huffington Post: ....For the first time in history, the U.S. government approved corporate censorship of the Internet, putting the future of online free speech at risk. Unbelievably, the person leading the charge was Obama appointee Julius Genachowski (known in some circles as Judas GenaComcast for his historic sellout and notorious industry-friendly attitude). Make no mistake. Rosenbaum, like many others, are pissed about this. "Today was another historic sellout to big corporations by the Obama administration, not some kind of 'win.' We need to set the record straight," he wrote. Matthew Lasar reported for Ars Technica: After years of debating, infighting, wrangling in court, and mostly just waiting, the Federal Communications Commission has approved an Order that will adopt "basic rules of the road to preserve the open Internet as a platform for innovation, investment, competition, and free expression." Net neutrality has finally arrived—but it's not what backers of the idea thought they'd be getting. The result, it seems, is that nobody is very happy with this version of "Net Neutrality." Opponents hate it largely because they say it will lead to tolls and/or taxes on email and other services used by millions of people, and could have a chilling effect on free speech. Supporters of the principle of Net Neutrality don't like what the FCC adopted today because they say it doesn't go far enough. Lasar's article continued: "Today for the first time the FCC is adopting rules to preserve basic Internet values," declared FCC Chair Julius Genachowski, who called the Order "a strong sensible non-ideological framework that protects Internet freedom." However... Another report at Ars Technica points out the division and rancor over this FCC action, as reported by Nate Anderson: Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell unleashed a biblical jeremiad against the order, accusing the FCC of becoming a "vigilante" which was taking this action only to help President Obama meet "a misguided campaign promise." Today was one of the "darkest days in recent FCC history," he said, adding that he had received a final draft only at 11:42 pm the night before the vote. As for ISPs, "Nothing is broken in the Internet access market." Hope and change. We're getting a truckload of it.